This weekend’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Phoenix International Raceway will mark the final race for the Dollar General-sponsored No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota driven by Joey Logano – at least for the remainder of this season. As was announced earlier this week, Dollar General will continue their support of the No. 20 Toyota in the 2013 season with driver Matt Kenseth behind the wheel. The new agreement means Kenseth, the 2003 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Champion, will drive Dollar General’s familiar yellow and black No. 20 car in 17 Sprint Cup Races next season beginning with the Daytona 500 in February. In addition, Dollar General will return to the NASCAR Nationwide Series and will compete with a full championship season sponsorship with Brian Vickers at the wheel.
LOOKING TO FOLLOW UP ON A TOP-10 RUN IN THE SPRING: When Logano started out the 2012 season, he grabbed top-10 finishes in the first two races of the year, including the spring race at Phoenix International Raceway. His 10th-place finish back in March at the one-mile oval was an impressive showing, qualifying the best of the three Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and running in the top-10 all day long before coming in late to play the fuel strategy game. It was a call from first-year crew chief Jason Ratcliff that made all of the difference as Logano had enough fuel to make it to the end while others began to run out, giving him a 10th-place finish, one of three career top-10 runs Logano has had at the track. Logano’s best finish at Phoenix came back in the fall race of 2010, when the youngster finished third. Logano has been pretty successful at qualifying at Phoenix as well, as four of his seven career starts have been inside the top-10.
DOLLAR GENERAL HELPS HURRICANE SANDY VICTIMS: In response to the effects that Hurricane Sandy has had on the northeast portion of our country, Dollar General has stepped up and offered their support by donating $100,000 to aid the American Red Cross in their relief efforts. In addition, the discount retailer is hosting an in-store campaign that allows customers to join Dollar General’s support of the American Red Cross by making a monetary donation at store registers.
A NEAR MISS AT TEXAS FOR LOGANO: With a slowly setting sun and a quickly changing racetrack, Logano just missed grabbing a top-10 finish last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway despite running there all race long. Logano qualified sixth and ran anywhere from sixth to ninth for much of the afternoon. However, as the sun set and darkness fell over the track, the No. 20 Toyota went from a little tight to incredibly loose. After spending much of the day loosening the car up in the sun, the team and crew chief Jason Ratcliff were forced to reverse their course of action and tighten Logano up. Things finally got better at the end of the day and Logano was able to climb back from 15th to 10th. However, contact with another car on the last lap cut Logano’s left rear tire causing a slow leak. Luckily, the 22-year-old was able to hold onto the car and bring it home 11th as the checkers flew.
THIS WEEK ON THE NO. 20 DOLLAR GENERAL TOYOTA: Dollar General vendor partners Frosted Flakes, Arm &Hammer, Powerade, Glad, Gillette ProGlide, Listerine, Brawny and First Quality will be featured on Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 20 Toyota Camry this weekend at Phoenix International Raceway.
THE RACE: The AdvoCare 500 at Phoenix International Raceway (Avondale, AZ; 1-mile oval) is set for Sunday, November 11. Watch and listen live on ESPN, Sirius XM Channel 90 and MRN Radio starting at 2:00 p.m. ET.
Joey Logano on Phoenix: “I have two races left with the No. 20 guys and we have two races to try and go out there and get the best finishes that we can. And this will be my last race with Dollar General as a sponsor and it’s just been a great year with them. We haven’t quite had the success that we wanted on the Cup side, although we were able to run top-five with them at one of the biggest races of the year, the Coke 400 at Daytona over July 4th. But it’s been pretty special to get them into Victory Lane so many times in the Nationwide Series. We’ve been able to win four races with them over there and they got a chance to celebrate with us a couple of times at the track in Victory Lane. Those are pretty special memories. Now, it would be even better to send them off with a bang in the Cup Series and give them their first Cup win.
“Phoenix has always been one of my better tracks. It is one of those places that the more you drive, the better you get at it. But then they changed things around when they repaved the place last year and that made it a whole new animal. But even since then, I think we’ve had a lot of success there. It’s a mix of a short track and an intermediate track. Aero is important because we run some pretty good speeds there for a mile track, but you can also beat and bang like you would at a Martinsville. So it is really like the best of both worlds. It is one of my favorite places to go on the schedule. I’m looking forward to maybe getting out of there with the win or at least a top-five finish.”